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RE: [orthodox-synod] Documents Concerning the HOCNA Separation?

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  • Fr. Alexis Duncan
    You completely miss the point Dimitra. Certainly the Church Abroad has only the power to act within Her boundaries. However, if what She has to say is an
    Message 1 of 19 , Mar 2, 2005
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      You completely miss the point Dimitra. Certainly the Church Abroad has only the power to act within Her boundaries. However, if what She has to say is an immutable truth, then is most surely applicable to the entire Church. For example, when the Church of Greece glorified St. Nectarios, they were acting only on behalf of the local church. However, it is apparent to all that St. Nectarios is a saint glorified in heaven. Therefore, the entire chorus of the Orthodox Church sings his praises. If some local Orthodox Church chooses not to glorify him as a saint, they have that right I suppose. But they would be wrong, would they not?

      _________________________________________________
      Fr. Alexis Duncan
      Joy of All Who Sorrow Russian Orthodox Church
      Atlanta, GA
      www.orthodoxinfo.biz



      Odd? Here is an excerpt from an article written by [then] Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinow), printed in Orthodox Life in 1984, No. 4, shortly after the 1983 Anathema Against Ecumenism appeared:

      "By proclaiming this anathema, we have protected ****our flock**** from this apocalyptic temptation and, at the same time, have reluctantly put before the conscience of all the local Churches a serious issue, which sooner of later they must resolve in one way or the other. The future spiritual fate of the universal Orthodox Church depends on the resolution of this problem. *****The anathema we have proclaimed is *de jure* a manifestaton of a purely local character of the Russian Church Abroad, but *de facto* it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church, for ecumenism is a heresy on a universal scale....******" [small emphasis (*=italics) his, large emphasis (******) mine]

      Some things to note here:

      1) This appeared right after the Anathema, in 1984, and matches exactly what he said later in his 1986 (O.S.)/1987 (N.S.) Nativity Epistle. So, Metr. Vitaly did not take a new stance on the interpretation of the Anathema in 1987, as some claim.

      2) He does say that "de jure" (by law, as far as its force of law goes) it is "a manifestation of a **purely local character*** ***of the Russian Church Abroad***. He also says at the beginning of this paragraph that the other local Churches must resolve this "serious issue" (not Anathema, not decree of the Church, but only an "issue") [themselves], implying it is *not* resolved *for* them by us, the ROCOR.

      3) He then says that *de facto*(in actual fact, or in actual practice), it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church. He says it has significance, but not legal power. He mentions it as something "put before the conscience" of the local Churches. Now an Anathema is not something "put before the conscience" of someone, for them to decide themselves the way he is saying here.

      If Metr. had felt that "the anathema must necessarily speak for the Church as a whole," then he would never have mentioned that "de jure it is a manifestation of a **purely local character*** of the Russian Church Abroad. He is, in fact, precisely saying that the Russian Church Abroad *cannot* speak for the Church as a whole, but only offer an example to "put before the conscience" of the Local Churches.

      ust my 2c/.

      --Dimitra Dwelley




      _________________________________________________________________
      From: "Fr. Alexis Duncan" <7848@...>Subject: RE: Re:
      Documents Concerning the HOCNA Separation?

      A terribly odd sentiment that I have heard expressed at other times
      is that the Anathema of 1983 is only for our Church Abroad and her
      faithful children. It is odd because if we believe our bishops in
      congregation are led by the Holy Spirit, then the anathema must
      necessarily speak for the Church as a whole.





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    • Fr. Alexis Duncan
      No Fr. John. The synod of bishops published an anathema to be appended to the service for those who have gone astray, sung on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. You know
      Message 2 of 19 , Mar 2, 2005
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        No Fr. John. The synod of bishops published an anathema to
        be appended to the service for those who have gone astray,
        sung on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. You know that well and I am
        sure you have a copy of it. It wasn't just a "hearing" of a
        report or suggestion of Vladika Afannassy. Why would you
        suggest such an obvious misrepresentation? I have noticed
        that often when arguments find no substantive response, we
        frequently hear bits and pieces of nonsensical "infobytes"
        that may or may not be true, bearing no relation to the
        current discussion.

        Fr. John, let me ask. Are you saying that the anathema was
        wrong and should be rescinded? Are you saying that what is
        states represents a falsehood? If not, then why are you
        attempting to make strides in discrediting it? Just curious.

        _________________________________________________
        Fr. Alexis Duncan
        Joy of All Who Sorrow Russian Orthodox Church
        Atlanta, GA
        www.orthodoxinfo.biz

        JRS: Perhaps it was a mistake to represent this as an
        anathema. The bishops, after all, did not
        really hurl any anathemas; they simply heard Vl. Afanassy
        say in his speech that "we ought to
        include the ecumenists and modernists among those
        anathematized in the Sunday of
        Orthodoxy service".
      • Fr. John R. Shaw
        ... JRS: It isn t a misrepresentation -- it s a fact. The bishops, including Metropolitan Philaret, never had any intention of publishing an anathema . We
        Message 3 of 19 , Mar 2, 2005
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          Fr. Alexis Duncan wrote:

          > No Fr. John. The synod of bishops published an anathema to
          > be appended to the service for those who have gone astray,
          > sung on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. You know that well and I am
          > sure you have a copy of it. It wasn't just a "hearing" of a
          > report or suggestion of Vladika Afannassy. Why would you
          > suggest such an obvious misrepresentation?

          JRS: It isn't a "misrepresentation" -- it's a fact.

          The bishops, including Metropolitan Philaret, never had any intention of "publishing an
          anathema". We have been over this a thousand times.

          What happened is that, unexpectedly for all, Vl. Afanassy made that remark in his speech.

          It was not on the agenda at all.

          There was also no vote taken on it, no motion that it be made part of the acts of the Sobor.
          But Bishop Gregory added it to the minutes, and Metropolitan Philaret almost always deferred
          to Bishop Gregory's views.

          If you don't believe that, there is the amazing fact that the text was written, not in Russian or
          Slavonic, but *in English* -- at a time when there was not a single ROCOR bishop whose
          native language was English.

          If this "anathema" had been part of the program, it would either have been prepared in
          advance, and in Slavonic, or else it would have been composed by one or more of the
          bishops at the Sobor -- in their own language, not in English.

          The text had to be translated from English into Russian and Slavonic, which is pretty
          convincing proof that the bishops did not create it.

          Subsequently, there was also no announcement of this "anathema", until Fr. Neketas Palassis
          announced it in his "Orthodox Christian Witness".

          If this had been something planned by the bishops, it would have been on the front page of
          Pravoslavnaya Rus' immediately after the Sobor.

          > I have noticed
          > that often when arguments find no substantive response, we
          > frequently hear bits and pieces of nonsensical "infobytes"
          > that may or may not be true, bearing no relation to the
          > current discussion.

          JRS: In this case, I am simply telling the FACTS of the case -- a case that is so stubbornly
          misrepresented by those whose only purpose is to attack ROCOR.

          > Fr. John, let me ask. Are you saying that the anathema was
          > wrong and should be rescinded? Are you saying that what is
          > states represents a falsehood? If not, then why are you
          > attempting to make strides in discrediting it? Just curious.

          JRS: Note that you never answered my question: are you saying that Vl. Vitaly was "twisting"
          when he said that it applied only to ROCOR?

          I am not "attempting to make strides" in discrediting it.

          Also I have repeatedly answered your other questions above before you asked them.

          No, the contents are not false; what is false, is the way this text is represented: as if it were
          an ecumenical anathema hurled against the other Orthodox Churches, and therefore falling
          upon ROCOR, for having even the least contacts with them.

          Please note also: that when such anti-ROCOR arguments are thrown at us, you remain silent.
          But when someone like Fr. Alexander, Fr. Stefan or myself sets the record straight -- then
          you are concerned, and "reply" to the defenders of ROCOR!

          In Christ
          Fr. John R. Shaw
        • Fr. John R. Shaw
          ... act within Her boundaries. However, if what She has to say is an immutable truth, then is most surely applicable to the entire Church. For example, when
          Message 4 of 19 , Mar 2, 2005
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            Fr. Alexis Duncan wrote:

            > You completely miss the point Dimitra. Certainly the Church Abroad has only the power to
            act within Her boundaries. However, if what She has to say is an immutable truth, then is
            most surely applicable to the entire Church. For example, when the Church of Greece
            glorified St. Nectarios, they were acting only on behalf of the local church. However, it is
            apparent to all that St. Nectarios is a saint glorified in heaven. Therefore, the entire chorus of
            the Orthodox Church sings his praises. If some local Orthodox Church chooses not to glorify
            him as a saint, they have that right I suppose. But they would be wrong, would they not?

            JRS: All Saints were first glorified (or even accepted without any formal glorification) by the
            local Churches in which they lived.

            Many such Saints were not in the calendars of the other Churches, at least not till recently:
            thus for example till a few years ago, "Edward" was thought not to be an Orthodox name.

            But local anathemas are not cast by the universal Church, and even if what they say is in
            accordance with the teaching of the Church, they do not automatically place anyone outside
            the Church.

            If an anathema is accepted by an Ecumenical Council, this means that it expresses what the
            Church has always taught.

            It does not mean, even in that case, that the anathema takes on a life of its own, and that
            unsuspecting victims who think they are still Church members, or clergy who are still
            outwardly "in good standing", cease to be such without any action by the hierarchy.

            If that were the case, nobody could be sure they really belonged to the Church at all.

            In Christ
            Fr. John R. Shaw
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